New Toyota compact unit to expand production bases for Aqua hybrid


Toyota Motor Corp. will expand production bases for the popular Aqua compact hybrid, according to the executive appointed to take charge of a new unit that is being formed to produce compacts.

“We are seeking ways to deliver Aqua cars to customers as soon as possible,” Senior Managing Director Takeshi Shirane said Monday in an interview.

Shirane, 59, has been named to head Toyota Motor East Japan Inc., a new unit integrating three subsidiaries — Kanto Auto Works Ltd., Central Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Tohoku Corp. — in July to develop and produce compact cars.

Shirane suggested the new company, in addition to Kanto Auto’s Iwate factory, will make Aquas at other plants, including one in Miyagi Prefecture operated by Central Motor.

The new company initially planned to produce about 500,000 vehicles a year, but that figure will rise if the production of Aquas increases, Shirane added.

Toyota received about 120,000 orders for the Aqua in the first month since its debut, against an initial monthly sales target of 12,000.

If customers place an order now, they will not take delivery until July or later.

Yorozu expands overseas


Auto parts maker Yorozu Corp. said it will build new plants in Mexico and Thailand to produce suspensions and other parts.

Yorozu said Monday it will make the move to meet fast-growing demand for auto parts in the two countries where the Yokohama-based firm has been producing suspensions.

The firm said it plans to invest about ¥5 billion in Mexico to set up a subsidiary this month to operate the new plant.

It expects the new plant to employ about 230 workers and generate ¥4.5 billion in sales when it reaches full operating capacity in 2015.

In Thailand, Yorozu will invest about ¥4 billion to set up a local subsidiary in April.

The company expects the plant to employ about 330 workers and generate sales of about ¥4.5 billion when it reaches full operating capacity in 2015.